Editorials: More on Judge Posner’s (Now Disavowed?) Mea Culpa on Voter ID Laws | Ed Whelan/National Review

For those interested in another round of Judge Richard Posner’s selfimmolation, here’s the latest bizarre twist concerning (to quote his words from pp. 84-85 of his new book Reflections on Judging) his “plead[ing] guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo ID”: In a postfor the New Republic, Posner now contends that he is not “publicly recanting” his vote and that he has not “switched sides.” I agree with election-law expert (and voter ID-law critic) Rick Hasen, who finds Posner’s latest account “incredible.” For starters (as Hasen points out), in a recent HuffPost Live interview, Mike Sacks, after quoting the passage in Posner’s book, specifically asked Posner whether he thinks that he “got this one [the ruling in the Indiana voter ID case] wrong.” Posner’s response (at 9:08 of the interview) begins: “Yes. Absolutely.” He adds that he thinks the dissenting judge “was right.” (See Hasen’s post for the remainder of the response, none of which contradicts these excerpts.)

Voting Blogs: Arizona and Its Conflicts Over Public Financing | More Soft Money Hard Law

After one unsuccessful engagement with the Supreme Court, the State of Arizona continues to work through the implementation of its public financing laws. The issue remains, as before, how it can structure the law to draw candidates into the systems. One strategy it devised did not suit the Court: the state discovered that it could not provide offsetting public funding to participating candidates who faced well-heeled opponents and free-spending independent expenditure groups. Now Arizona is fighting over another mechanism for encouraging participation, or discouraging nonparticipation, in the public funding system. This one involves reducing the contribution limits to make them less appealing to candidates who are considering electing private support through contributions rather than public financing. In 1998, voters approved Proposition 200, known as the Clean Elections Act, which established a public financing system and reduced the contributions limits then specified by law for candidates who did not participate in the public financing system. It imposed for these nonparticipating candidates a 20% reduction in then-existing limits and established aggregate limits on contributions by candidates and political committees. In 2013, the legislature increased the contribution limits available to nonparticipating candidates and eliminated the aggregate limits.

Arizona: Secretary of State determines election law referendum can move forward | The Verde Independent

Counties have verified there are enough valid signatures on petitions to give voters the last word on extensive changes in election laws pushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature. The Secretary of State’s Office said Wednesday that a random check of signatures found 18.38 percent to be invalid. Applying that to the 139,161 that Ken Bennett’s office found preliminarily valid, that leaves backers with 113,583, far more than the 86,405 needed to delay enactment of the law and put the issue on the 2014 ballot. But Barrett Marson said the Republican interests he represents who want the changes on the books may still sue in a last-ditch attempt to keep the issue from voters. “Some of their signature gatherers have significant issues with residency and felonious conduct,’ he said. “This is far from over.’

Arizona: Elections catching up with technology: Changes piloted in November in Pima County | Tucson Citizen

Goodbye, unwieldy manual signature roster books. Hello, tablets. Under a pilot project being implemented by Pima County in the Nov. 5 Vail incorporation election, voters who go to the polls will be able to use a mobile computer that’s smaller than a laptop to sign for their ballots. … The polling places also will no longer use precinct-based scanning equipment. Instead, voters will drop their ballots into a secure box that is under observation at all times by poll workers and then securely transported to a central tabulating facility at the Elections Office located at 6550 S. Country Club Road. Independent observers will continue to oversee the process and results will be audited.

Connecticut: Windham third party taking ballot issue to court | The Norwich Bulletin

After successfully seating candidates on every major board in the last two municipal elections, The Bottom Line party now finds itself fighting just to get on the ballot. The party, which formed about six years ago, had its nominees removed from the ballot by order of the secretary of state, despite Town Clerk Patricia Spruance going to bat for them. At issue is a 2011 regulation requiring third-party candidates to sign the nomination form. “It seems like an unjust situation,” Spruance said. “It really is a case of disenfranchisement of eight candidates and individual voters.” The enforcement of the 2011 regulation has affected more towns than Windham. Several other municipalities have taken their town clerks to court.

Florida: Special election for Bill Young’s seat will be complicated, expensive | SaintPetersBlog

Nobody said that replacing the late GOP Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died last week at age 82, would be easy. A special election often means a radically shortened campaign schedule, with tremendous financial consequences. In addition, the race for Pinellas County’s 13th congressional district is sure to garner national attention as a seat uncontested for decades that now suddenly becomes a swing district. Both Democrats and Republicans are taking the struggle for the remaining 14 months of Young’s term as a sort of measure of the national mood, even before Gov. Rick Scott sets a date for the special election. “It’ll be a perfect storm of a special election,” GOP political consultant Sarah Bascom told Kate Bradshaw of the Tampa Tribune. “If you consider the time frame, if you consider the environment.”

Florida: Detzner says voter-rolls purge will be done right this time | The Florida Current

Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Monday the coming purge of noncitizens from Florida voter-registration rolls will be “case-management work,” double-checked by at least two Division of Elections workers before verification with a federal database. Detzner told reporters at the Capitol he has no starting date for the statewide search for ineligible voters — which has drawn harsh criticism from Florida Democrats, who call it a thinly disguised attempt at “suppressing” minority voters. An attempt at purging the rolls last year, directed by Gov. Rick Scott, fizzled amid the same partisan accusations. This time, Detzner said, the state will work with a federal Department of Homeland Security database known as “SAVE” that was not made available to the state last year. SAVE stands for “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements,” and Detzner said county elections supervisors are working with his department on details for security clearances so their staff can tap into the system. “I don’t really have a time schedule. This is case-management work, so you manage one case at a time,” Detzner said.

New Jersey: State Senator Turner’s bill would prevent more special elections | NJ.com

The critics were united. Confusion and inconvenience, they said, would lead to an embarrassingly low voter turnout at the special U.S. Senate election Gov. Chris Christie had called for a Wednesday in mid-October, a mere 20 days before the regularly scheduled November voting. And they were right. Only 24 percent of the state’s registered voters took part. It was higher than the participation rate when your average New Jersey fire district chooses its commissioners, but it was the lowest figure ever for a general election. Some performance. Some payoff for the $12 million extra it cost the state to vote on two days instead of one. Why did the governor set it up that way? If you’re not a rabid Christie partisan, the answer should be easy. As a candidate for a second term on the Nov. 5 ballot, he preferred not to share it with popular Democratic Senate candidate Cory Booker and diminish his own chances for the landslide victory he’d like to be able to flaunt when the time comes for him to pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Ohio: Solution found to Athens County ballot problem on electric aggregation issue | The Athens Messenger

Electronic vote-counters in 33 of Athens County’s voting precincts have been reprogrammed not to count votes cast on county electric aggregation, a step taken after it was determined that the measure (Issue 2) should not have been on the ballot in those locations. Also, signs will be posted in the 33 polling locations alerting voters that Issue 2 should not be on their ballots, and that votes on it will not be counted, according to Athens County Elections Director Debbie Quivey. Electric aggregation would allow the county to negotiate lower rates for households and small businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county, but all ballots printed for the Nov. 5 election — including those in Athens, Nelsonville and the county’s eight incorporated villages — mistakenly include Issue 2. The error was discovered earlier this month, and Quivey and Deputy Elections Director Penny Brooks asked County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn for a legal opinion Oct. 17 on who should be voting on Issue 2.

Ohio: Tuscarawas County to buy 55 voting machines | The Times-Reporter

Before the year ends, the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections has to purchase 55 voting machines to be in compliance with state law. Monday the Tuscarawas County Commissioners approved more than $35,000 in transfers from various funds to cover the cost. Sarah Kneuss, the board’s deputy director, said the machines will be ready and available in 2014 in time for the  gubernatorial election. She said it isn’t necessary to have them in time for next week’s election. Kneuss said the county made big purchases in 2005, purchasing several electronic machines to be compliant with the law.  “We have to have one machine for every 175 registered voters in a precinct,” she explained.

Texas: Voter ID law affects female voters | Times Record News

Newly enacted state law requiring voters to show picture identification is causing some hiccups at early-voting locations around Texas, according to a report published Sunday. Rules requiring that a voter’s name on IDs exactly match that listed in voter registration databases are especially problematic for women, The Dallas Morning News (http://dallasne.ws/19ISAWj ) reported. The general election is Nov. 5. To lessen the hassle, state officials say that if names are “substantially similar,” a voter can immediately sign an affidavit verifying his or her identity, and then vote. Another option is casting a provisional ballot, then providing supporting information later. Provisional ballots are held until elections officials can verify that they should count. State officials have promised to err on the side of the person trying to vote, rather than the other way around.

Texas: New Voter ID Law Forces Governor Candidate Wendy Davis To Sign Affidavit To Vote | KERA

Add gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis to the growing list of women who are having problems voting because of Texas’ new photo ID law. Davis, a Democratic state senator, was voting early in Fort Worth on Monday morning when poll workers made her sign an affidavit to verify her identity. Why? Her photo ID included her maiden name, Wendy Russell Davis. But voter registration records showed: Wendy Davis. Davis used the incident as an opportunity to tell the media who had gathered that women who have had name changes may be discouraged about voting.

Utah: Battle over caucus and convention system heats up | Deseret News

Republicans have taken “a great first step” toward improving Utah’s unique system for selecting party nominees by approving absentee ballots and other changes, state GOP Chairman James Evans said Monday. The changes were made by the Utah Republican Party Central Committee on Saturday, the same day the Count My Vote initiative petition drive to replace the nominating system with a direct primary election began collecting signatures. Evans described the initiative as the “agitation” that prompted action. “These were changes that were certainly needed,” he said. “I think the fact that Count My Vote is pushing to eliminate the caucus system, most certainly the party has taken note.”

Wisconsin: Absentee voting, campaign finance bills to get hearing Tuesday | The Badger Herald

After receiving a public hearing earlier this month, a bill allowing donors to opt out disclosing their employer on campaign donations of $500 or less will receive another hearing Tuesday. The proposed bill would increase the minimum donation requiring a donor’s disclosure of their employer from $100 under current law to $500. Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said the purpose of the bill is to prevent businesses who donate to certain politicians from being boycotted by those who disagree with their donation choices. “The bill is to prevent the full force of purchasing power of the police, fire and teachers unions from punishing employers whose employees give small amounts of money to political campaigns,” Grothman said.

Madagascar: Presidential Election Results Awaited | allAfrica.com

The people of Madagascar are waiting for the outcome of Saturday’s election.They hope the new leadership will lift their country out of political chaos and rescue it from economic ruin. It is a long list. Thirty three candidates competed in Friday’s presidential elections in Madagascar, far more than the last election in 2006. Parties are playing a subordinate role. “You’ll look for familiar candidates’ names in vain,” said Jean Herve Rakotozanany, a radio journalist who has been covering Madagascan politics for the last 15 years. Some of the candidates’ names were completely unknown to him. Initially it had seemed that well-known heavyweights such as Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina would be contesting this election. Ravalomanana was president until the beginning of 2009. He was then ousted by Rajoelina and fled into exile.

Mauritania: Most of Opposition to Boycott Election | AFP

Mauritania holds nationwide elections next month overshadowed by a boycott of the entire “democratic” opposition — apart from an Islamist party calling its participation a struggle against “dictatorship.” The mainly Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen by Western leaders as strategically important in the fight against Al Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, in neighboring Mali and across Africa’s Sahel region. Around a third of its 3.4 million predominantly Arab-Berber and black African people are eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, five years after the coup of junta chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was eventually elected in widely contested polls. At the close of election lists on Friday, around 1,100 candidates were registered to vie for the leadership of 218 local councils dotted across the shifting sands of the vast nation and only 440 for 146 seats up for grabs in parliament.

Nepal: Election Commission begins printing voter ID cards | Republica

The Election Commission (EC) has begun printing voter ID cards for the forthcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) election from Sunday night. The commission has been printing the voter ID cards at its central office located at Kantipath, Kathmandu. EC officials said five printers are being used to print the voter ID cards. The EC plans to complete printing of the ID cards in seven days. Asked about when the commission would distribute the voter ID cards, Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety said, “The voter ID cards may be distributed to voters a day before the poll day.” According to EC officials, voters will be asked to collect their ID cards from their respective polling centers. The commission on Wednesday had decided to allow A-Roll Printing Company to supply necessary papers for printing voter ID.

Philippines: Elections relatively peaceful but marred by pockets of violence | The Washington Post

Village elections across the Philippines were relatively peaceful Monday but voting in some rural areas was marred by violence, including two killings, shootouts and the burning of a voting center, officials said. Troops and police went on full security alert to avert more violence after 22 candidates and supporters died in pre-election violence, mostly shootouts, over the past month. Violence and fraud have long been an unsettling hallmark of Philippine elections. Fifteen people were killed in village election violence in 2010 and 57 died in the 2007 elections, police said. In the latest violence, the husband of a candidate for village chairman was shot and killed Monday by suspected political rivals in Jaro town in central Leyte province. A supporter of another village candidate was killed during a rowdy confrontation with army troops in southern Agusan del Sur province, according to police.